Avis O’Brien was given the name Nalaga, meaning ‘bringer of daylight’ during a family ceremony, passed down from her Kwakwaka’wakw ancestors. Avis is originally from Alert Bay, BC, and was taught to weave by her older sister Meghann O’Brien. She works with the weaving traditions instilled by her Haida and Kwakwaka’wakw ancestors.
Cedar bark weaving is an integral part of the culture of the Northwest Coast peoples. The process is one of deep spiritual significance and is also physically rigorous. It begins with an offering of tobacco to give thanks to the tree for its offering. Avis then strips, soaks, and prepares the bark to be woven.
Avis has also expanded her talents into the area of cedar wood carving and will create utilitarian items such as paddles.